(Saturday, March 5)
The editor of “Aravot” comments on several “extreme” provisions of the draft Electoral Code that he says may have been included in it for a purpose. The matter concerns the provision on the limited presence of journalists at polling stations during the voting and the need for local observers to have a special invitation from government bodies: “Of course, the authors of the bill would like to see only pro-government journalists and pro-government observers following the elections. But I also agree with the opinion that these points have been included in the draft to be eventually removed from it as a ‘great’ concession to the public.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” asked MP Mikael Manukian representing the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), a party that recently struck a power-sharing deal with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, whether it would be comfortable for them to work with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian whose resignation they demanded in 2009 over the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement process. The paper comments on the answer of the lawmaker who said that “there may be changes there as well”. Hinting at the fact that the ARF got at least one ministerial post due to the separation of a ministry, the author of the article writes sardonically: “If we take into account what ARF members usually understand when they say “changes”, we can assume that in the time to come the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be divided into two ministries – the Ministry of Foreign and the Ministry of Affairs.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reminds its readers about the explanation of Artak Shaboyan, the head of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, about why there was no adequate decrease in petrol prices in Armenia against the backdrop of falling international oil prices. The official, in particular, said that the factor of oil prices was insignificant for petrol prices in Armenia. The paper observes that now that petrol prices in Armenia start to climb against the insignificant rebound of international oil prices, “this rise will be surely linked with the factor of oil prices”. “But can this be a justification?” the paper continues. “Now Shaboyan will have to justify why the reverse process is taking place so quickly. We will be looking forward to hearing his explanations.”
“Zhamanak” cites the latest data of the Central Bank of Armenia according to which remittances to the country in the course of 2015 fell by half a billion dollars or 23 percent. “This is a huge shortfall for Armenia and one can imagine what impact it will have on the Armenian economy,” the paper observes.